“We will turn Russia’s time in Syria into another Grozny!” - An exclusive interview with Abdurahman Al-Shishani
16 October, 2015
“We will turn Russia’s time in Syria into another Grozny!” - An exclusive interview with Abdurahman Al-Shishani
After four years of armed conflict in Syria, a new player has emerged on the stage – Russia. Putin is now insisting that a new phase of fighting against the so-called “Islamic State” has begun. However, it very quickly became apparent that Russian air strikes target not only posts and training camps of ISIS, but also those of other anti-Assad forces, the so-called “moderate rebels” who dissociate themselves from ISIS. Kviris Palitra newspaper managed to talk to Abdurahman al-Shishani, a
former fighter for one of the more well known groups, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (Army of Emigrants and Supporters).

“We are fighting our own war in Syria, against Assad! Americans know thisgeotv.ge very well; we do not pose any threat to them. We do not kill in peacetime, only in war... And we do not cut off heads. They helped us with weapons and training and now suddenly we are the terrorists?”

Abdurahman, a Kist (Georgian Chechen) who has been commanding one of the militant wings of Usud l-Sham (Lions of the Sun) since 2013, was also part of the inner circle of the armed group’s commander-in-chief, Muslim al-Shishani (Murad Margoshvili, another Kist). He turned out to be quite forthcoming with information:

– I came to Syria in the winter of 2013, since the Caucasus Emirate wouldn’t leave Margoshvili and me alone. You see, we did time at a Russian prison together, and thus younger emirs treated us with suspicion. I went to Turkey for treatment after I took two bullets in the leg, and there we – 14 of us, actually – decided to come here, to Syria. It was in Turkey that I first heard the name Tarkhan geotv.geBatirashvili (Abu Omar al-Shishani, currently a notorious ISIS commander – though he is reported dead every few months). Although he also was from the Pankisi Gorge, I did not know him.

Upon crossing the Syrian border, we were introduced to the now deceased field commander Seifullah al-Shishani (Ruslan Machalikashvili), and it was thanks to him that we ended up in Kataib al-Muhajireen (Emigrants’ Brigade). In a few months we were joined by two more groups and this is how Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar was created. However, regardless of all these transformations, we always kept fighting against Assad, who to us is the same as Russia. The Caucasus Emirate did not give us a chance to fight against Russia in the Caucasus, so we came here instead. Here, the suffix “-Shishani” (Chechen) means “enemy of Russia” and commands a lot of respect. We fight bravely. People often ask us where we get weapons and vehicles. Tell you what: When you yearn for war, both will come along in due course.

“If Kadyrov outmaneuvered Batirashvili and killed him, it is our duty to do the same to Kadyrov.”

– Have you crossed paths with Abu Omar – Tarkhan Batirashvili – since then?

– No. When ISIS went on the offensive and captured the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit, rumors had it that Tarkhan was the mastermind behind the operation and planned to attack Baghdad next. At the time of ISIS declaring itself a caliphate, Tarkhan, as head of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, controlled the northern part of Syria and wanted to pledge allegiance to ISIS together with his fighters. But they rebelled against the idea and he ended up joining ISIS alone.

– People say he isn’t even alive today… Among them is the Chechen President Kadyrov.

– This is a question to his enemies, not me; they know better. If Kadyrov outmaneuvered Batirashvili and killed him, it is our duty to do the same to Kadyrov. geotv.ge

– The U.S. put Muslim al-Shishani, your leader, on the list of most dangerous terrorists worldwide alongside Tarkhan. But according to you, your group has no ties with ISIS whatsoever. Can you explain?

– We are fighting our own war in Syria, against Assad! Americans know this very well; we do not pose any threat to them. We do not kill in peacetime, only in war... And we do not cut off heads. They helped us with weapons and training and now suddenly we are the terrorists?

“Everyone kept saying that we must go to Russia after Syria, but Russia itself ended up coming to us.”

– Can you comment on the Kurdish armed groups opposing you?

– In Syria, your allies and enemies change by the hour, depending on where you are. Yesterday’s friends might fire at you tomorrow, and vice versa. I did not take part in the battle for Kobani, but word goes around that some Georgian-speaking Kurds were fought against there. I don’t know the details – there is little time for chit-chat during war. In Syria everyone has their own interests and fights for them.

– It seems that Russia has decided to join the free-for-all in Syria. Is it really interested in destroying ISIS?

– It is hard to see the big picture from the battlefield, but... Everyone kept saying that we must go to Russia after Syria. And now Russia ended up coming to us. It aims to destroy all powers working against Assad, and its airstrikes have targeted our allies’ positions several times already. Let them fly. If they end up actually bringing their foot soldiers here, we will turn their time in Syria into another Grozny!

Other Stories
System of Javelins already in Georgia
The first stage of the purchase of the system of Javelins has been successfully completed.
New wave of Georgian soldiers sent for NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan
One hundred Georgian soldiers from the 4th mechanized brigade has been sent to Afghanistan
Trade in Strategic Goods: Global security, National Interests and Economic Development Prospects
On 30 January 2016 twelve MEDEVAC armoured medical evacuation vehicles built by the Delta State Military Scientific-Technical Centre
Security Assistance Beyond the Battlefield: Helping Georgia Care for its Wounded Warriors – US State Department
The US Department of State has published an article about Georgian soldiers on its official blog.
One does not look a gift Iroquois in the mouth…
Georgia’s Defense Ministry has confirmed that in 2018, the U.S. is going to transfer ownership of two modernized UH-1 Iroquois (a.k.a. Huey) helicopters
All right, we might shoot down a Russian helicopter. What next?
Violation of Georgian airspace by a Russian drone and then a helicopter that came from the occupied Tskhinvali region has caused quite a resonance in our society.
Afghan War 2.0 Featuring Syria and... Georgia?
In the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, Bashar Assad’s army is planning a land offensive together with its Russian allies.
Turkish-Russian Deadlock
How Would a Military Confrontation Between Turkey and Russia Affect Georgia’s Security?
Alexander Kartveli – A Pioneer of American Aviation
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili and his sons have recently visited the Georgian National Museum.
Sell Georgian Weaponry – Strengthen the Country!
Georgia does not only produce foodstuffs and clothes, it can also produce technologically complex products that have
Georgia is waiting for a signal from the west - Georgia's Defense Minister's article on WST
The Wall Street Journal has published an article about Georgia's aspirations to NATO, written by Defense Minister
Welcome back! - Georgian soldiers' heartwarming reunion with their families after mission in Afghanistan
On October 19, a section of the 4th infantry brigade of 43rd battalion has returned from Afghanistan to Georgia.
‘What Russia has done is but an episode in the unfolding drama in the Middle East’
Based on previous experiences with Russia and its numerous past attempts to use the Pankisi factor as a pretext
“Smile-a” Should Have Been an Envoy of Peace”
On September 22nd, another Georgian soldier died in Afghanistan on the ISAF mission.
Georgian Armed Forces about to wave gamblers, junkies and drunkards goodbye
The latest tragedy befell the Georgian army on September 1, at Norio boot camp. A soldier from the First Infantry Brigade
Can the American tanks make it in time to defend Tbilisi?
In case of the next military crisis, Russia will do its best to impede NATO
DELTA to the Rescue!
State Military Scientific-Technical Centre DELTA has announced its intention to set up a remotely piloted operations center in order to carry out rescue
Russia resumes the Railroad Ruse
Up to 500 Russian soldiers and 50 vehicles are working on restoring the railroad in the occupied region of Abkhazia
 Russian soldiers working on restoration of the Abkhazian railway
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Bulgakov said Russian soldiers are working on putting the railway of Abkhazia back into order
Does Georgia need military conscription?
In mid-July, a certain bill was registered in Parliament. In the case of its approval, a considerable part of the Georgian
The so-called Caucasian Governance of the Islamic state has a new emir
On July 25 it was announced that so-called Caucasian Governance of the Islamic State has another new Emir. Abu Muhammad al Qadar
NATOCHANNEL.TV Reporter preparing a TV story about Georgian soldiers
NATOCHANNEL.TV Reporter Jeff Holden is preparing a TV story about the NATO project “Georgia IV” in the Georgian village of Skra.
"Gaumarjos to them for their selfless service..." - Ambassador Norland meets heroic Georgian veterans
U.S. embassy to Georgia has posted a photo on its Facebook page taken at the formal reception dedicated to celebration
ISIS Foothold in the Caucasus and What it Means for Georgia
Last week, the terrorist organization, the so-called Islamic State, became unusually active. It carried out bloody attacks in Kuwait and Tunisia
The ISIS “Skype Warriors” of Pankisi Gorge
The war in Syria can be called a “five-star jihad” – high-quality weapons, comfortable housing and transportation, nicely edited
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
Georgian soldier Vasil Kulijanashvili has been killed in Afghanistan during performing his duties within the framework
Footage of Giorgi Antsukhelidze getting tortured during the August War has shaken Georgia to the core.
Youtube channel “How they do it?” has published a video, titled “The Georgian-Chechen friendship on Ukrainian soil”, depicting
A company of Georgian infantry performed a training assault exercise while being evaluated by NATO monitors.
Website Грузия (Georgia) has recently published a video featuring Georgian volunteers currently fighting in Shirokino, Ukraine, explaining
Levan and Zezva, Georgian soldiers deployed in Afghanistan, express their longing for the homeland by singing.
To be a Ceremonial Guardsman in the United States Air Force you have to maintain bearing at all times, even if you have a rubber chicken in front of your face.
A video named "Ukraine, Georgia is with you" has recently been published on Youtube. It features footage of Georgian combatants fighting along their Ukrainian brethren.
Sports competitions were held at the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. Military servicemen of the 51st Battalion of V Infantry Brigade of the Georgian Armed Forces
Georgian military cadets Besarion Gorjoladze and Soso Makaridze have tragically perished in a car accident that occurred on an icy road in New Jersey.
GEL Exchange
September 2020
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30